Development

Need to raise awareness on delimitation process: Report

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A majority 83.52 percent of citizens does not know the delimitation process. Of those who are aware of delimitation slightly above a quarter 25.89 percent are aware of when delimitation occurs, nearly a third 29.70 percent have knowledge of the legal framework on delimitation according to final report by Zimbabwe Election Support Network.

The report titled Key Considerations for Delimitation in 2023, the findings indicate that there is need to raise awareness on the provisions of elections including delimitation in the Constitution ad Electoral Act.

Delimitation process is important in the electoral process and for the conduct of credible elections, ensuring equality of the vote and fair representation.

In previous elections a number of voters were turned away for various reasons and chief among them had to do with delimitation process.

Some of them were in the wrong constituency or the constituency that they previously belonged had been shortened.

What this all pointed to was the need to raise awareness among stakeholders on the importance of delimitation.

According to ZESN report, a majority of citizens 79.09 percent believe that ZEC should consult stakeholders on delimitation of electoral boundaries.

“Stakeholders contend that the ZEC should consult based on hierarchy of responses from citizens, traditional leaders, civil society organizations, Government and political parties.

“A majority of citizens 53.2 percent believe that the Government should provide adequate financial resources towards the delimitation process.

“Nearly a fifth 18.89 percent of the citizens want ZEC to consult stakeholders throughout the entire process, from planning until the delimitation process is finalized.

“When asked how citizens could participate in the process, 67.2 percent of citizens said through public hearings; 17.3 percent said through social media and 5.6 percent said through written submissions,” the report reads in part.

While public participation and consultation are important, there are observed gaps in the legal framework such as provisions for such including provisions on handling boundary disputes.

“There should be mechanisms to involve CSOs, as observers, in order to enhance integrity and credibility of the process,” the report reads.

In a Compendium of Election Observers Recommendations, the Election Observer Missions (IRI/NDI EOM) it was recommended that ZEC should employ a proactive communications strategy to provide critical information to stakeholders and that reinforces public confidence in its impartiality throughout the electoral process.

According to ZESN report, while delimitation will be conducted before the 2023 elections, it was imperative for stakeholders to engage in the process of delimitation.

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